Summer is officially here along with the glaring sun and balmy temperatures. Some of us have jobs that put us out in the sun. Many of us are just excited to spend weekends in the fresh air.
However, fun in the sun can turn dangerous quickly if you aren’t prepared. Here are some summertime safety tips to keep you (and your loved ones) safe this summer.
1. Even “safe” fireworks (like sparklers) can reach up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the professionals run firework displays and keep all observers a safe distance away.
2. To avoid insect bites, stay away from places where insects congregate, like pools of stagnant water, untended foliage and trash heaps. Don’t wear floral prints or fragrances. If you have to be near bugs, where long clothing to prevent bites and apply an insect repellent that contains DEET.
3. After time outside, check yourself for ticks. Look everywhere on your body. Look out for the signs of Lyme disease: headaches, bulls-eye rash, joint pain and fatigue.
4. Never leave pets inside a closed vehicle unless the air conditioning is running. Even with the windows open, the glass in your car amplifies the sun’s heat. Children should never be left in the car – regardless if the windows are open or the air conditioning is on.
5. Learn how to identify Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac, and stay away from them. If you’re exposed, wash with rubbing alcohol, then soap and water.
6. If you’re bringing perishable food in a cooler, keep the food safe by packing the cooler full and including ice packs. Keep them in the shade with their lids closed.
7. Grill food on a clean grill surface, with clean utensils and clean hands. Do not leave perishable food exposed in the heat.
8. Wear sunscreen no matter how long you plan to be in the sun and reapply often. It should be at least SPF 15. Avoid the sun’s rays between 11 AM and 3 PM. Wear tightly woven cotton clothing and wide-brimmed hats.
9. Never leave children unattended around water. Adults should take dedicated turns watching the children, otherwise a disaster may happen while everyone assumes someone else is watching.
10. Even though it’s summer, it’s possible to catch hypothermia if you spend too much time in cold water. Look out for blue lips and shivering.
11. Don’t let children under 16 operate lawn mowers. Make sure to use a mower that stops when the handle is released. Scan the lawn for throw-able objects before mowing and always wear sturdy shoes.
12. Always wear protective gear (including helmets) whenever you’re riding a skateboard, bicycle, or rollerblades.
13. If you can’t avoid the heat, reduce activities that would heat up your body, like running, biking, or strenuous chores. Do these activities in the early morning or late evening.
14. Drink plenty of water long before you’re thirsty. Avoid caffeine, sodas, and alcohol, which can all dehydrate you.
15. When you’re working, driving or playing outside, the heat can be dangerous. The first sign to look out for is cramping in your legs. This leads to heavy sweating and lightheadedness, which is called heat exhaustion. It can progress to heat stroke, which is when your body is too hot to cool itself. You’ll feel lethargic and sluggish, have red skin, feel confused and dizzy, have a rapid pulse, and might have an actual stroke. Put ice on the neck, armpits and groin, and call a doctor.
If you follow these tips, you’ll have a safe and pleasant summer.